- Infamous “Gym Friend” meme contains lessons for the bitcoin community in 2020.
- Campaign of frantic censorship and deflection highlights a lack of reasoned leadership at Blockstream.
- The cryptocurrency space needs more masculinity.
The biggest lesson the bitcoin community can carry over from 2019 wasn’t learned on the blockchain, but in the gym.
In early December when a meme-maker released the image below onto Twitter, everyone laughed for a minute then moved on.
But the Transformers fan pictured on the left didn’t see the funny side. Samson Mow, CSO of Blockstream, took issue with the implication that his girlfriend would engage in infidelities with what he termed her “gym friend.”
Mow, whose private company oversees much of bitcoin’s development, derided the meme as sexist and misogynistic. Soon, lawyers were drafted in and the Twitter user who created the meme found his account abruptly deleted.
Yet Samson Mow’s reaction to the meme revealed more about himself than it did those pesky, sexist meme-makers.
As YouTuber Vin Armani points out in the video below, the “Guy She Tells You Not to Worry About” meme is targeted specifically at men.
The meme preys exclusively on male insecurity, questioning their ability to attract females when competing against such alpha specimens as the “gym friend.”
Bitcoin Needs Alpha-Males
As Armani notes in his video breakdown of 2019’s (and possibly 2020’s) funniest meme:
The men for whom this is most triggering are the men who identify most with the inadequate male. The ‘you’ in the ‘you vs the guy she tells you not to worry about’.
Memes are already the internet’s most dominant art form. The speed with which they spread stands as a testament to the power of the messages they contain. Armani notes:
As in all memes, the subjects are meant to represent archetypes… [The gym friend] is meant to represent every alpha-male. And [Mow] is meant to represent every infantile, repressed beta-male. The meme itself is about the male subjects, which made the reaction to the meme all the more interesting.
As Armani goes on to suggest, the real toxicity comes not from strong, secure, self-assured men. Rather, it comes from those weak men who feel entitled to all the things they refuse to work for.
Toxic masculinity is not the domain of the apha-male. The alpha-male is a builder, a protector of society. Toxic masculinity is the domain of the insecure, easily-triggered boy who clutches to toys made through the labor of others, who feels entitled to have his life be comfortable.
One of the most powerful men in bitcoin – the one leading BTC into the new decade – was brought to his knees over a meme. The bitcoin community could do with having more gym friends in 2020, and less frantic, emotional Transformers fans.
This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.
Last modified: January 4, 2020 2:23 PM UTC